Archive for December 23, 2008
But did the Jews not have some advantages as against the Pagans? Yes. C. S. Lewis thought so. Their revelation from God was more clearly defined than in the Pagan world. They did have more light. That, however, is not the same as saying that the Jews had all the light and the Pagans none at all. “The truth is that a Shepherd [a Jew] is only half a man, and a Pagan is only half a man, so that neither people was well without the other, nor could either be healed until the Landlord’s Son [Jesus] came into the country.”
This is what C. S. Lewis wrote in his allegorical Pilgrim’s Regress. There, a personified History tells the pilgrim that God succeeded to get a lot of messages through to the Pagans. The pilgrim asked what sort of messages, and History replied that it was mostly pictures. “You see,” explained History, “the Pagans couldn’t read, because the Enemy [Satan] shut up the schools as soon as he took over Pagus. But they had pictures. (…) And then the Pagans made mistakes. They would keep on trying to get the same picture again: and if it didn’t come, they would make copies of it for themselves. (…) They went on making up more and more stories for themselves about the pictures, and then pretending the stories were true.”
C. S. Lewis thought that Pagan beliefs had a core of truth that came from God, but people perverted the truths. “There was no absurdity and no indecency they did not commit.” But God never gave up. He kept sending new messages to the Pagans that re-awakened the core truths of their beliefs.
“But all the while there was one people that could read,” says History, meaning the Jewish people. “And because they could read, they had from the Landlord, not pictures but Rules.” Due to that, they were of course much narrower in their thinking than the Pagans. They were narrow because they had charge over the Road. “They found it. They sign-posted it. They kept it clear and re-paired it. But you must not think I am setting them up against the Pagans.” And now comes the sentence I quoted above: “The truth is that a Shepherd is only half a man, and a Pagan is only half a man, so that neither people was well without the other, nor could either be healed until the Landlord’s Son came into the country.”
Lewis believed the God-Man Jesus to be the most central and perfect revelation of God to humanity. Everything that leads to Him is, to one degree or another, inspired by God: “If every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights then all true and edifying writings, whether Scripture or not, must be in some sense inspired.”
In relation to the Bible, some Christians give the word inspiration a rather restricted meaning; that somehow the inspiration of the Bible requires a completely different activity from God than when He does something else. But what does inspiration mean? Does it not simply mean that God originated something, that He willed it, that He drove it to be realized?
If so, we should immediately comprehend that the Bible is not the only thing God has willed. All of creation is in a very real sense “inspired” by Him. Lewis quotes Richard Hooker as saying that all things that are of God “have God in them and he them in himself likewise.” The stars, the earth, the wind—creation has originated with God. Only sin is not inspired by God. Everything else is from Him. Indeed, in Him we move and breathe and have our being.
 Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress, Book VIII, Chapter 8.
 Lewis, Letters.
 Richard Hooker (1554-1600) was an Anglican priest and popular theologian.
 Quoted by Lewis in Poetry and Prose in the Sixteenth Century.